Tallahassee, Fla. — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. She addressed the continued unfair foreign trade practices being employed by Mexico and other countries that are causing severe harm to the domestic seasonal produce industry.
“Florida farmers and American agriculture is the best in the world, and we are used to competition. But right now, we know Mexico and others are not fighting fair,” Commissioner Fried wrote. “We need federal action to level the playing field for our seasonal producers and citrus farmers who drive our economy, create jobs, and feed our families.”
The letter also calls for a reversal of recent USDA action eliminating juice content regulations on fresh grapefruit imports from Mexico and other countries threatening Florida’s citrus industry, which still must adhere to these standards.
Commissioner Fried shared with Secretary Vilsack a recent report released by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) that showed an economic impact of nearly $4 billion due to the expansion of Mexican imports, causing up between 10% to 20% in annual lost sales of Florida seasonal producers due to unfair foreign trade practices.
Read the letter in full.